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used to be

January 4, 2015

Just over 6 months ago, I switched jobs.  I still work for the same organization, but after 9 years in one position, I switched to a new one.  As most people I work with, are familiar with this job change, I seldom feel the need to tell people what my previous position was.  However, at a meeting just before Christmas, almost half the people present had joined the organization since I made the switch and so to add some context to my comments and input, during my introduction I included the statement “I used to be”.

I’m not entirely sure why it is so important to me that people know my previous position at work, and to avoid turning this blog into more of a counseling session than it might sometimes appear, I won’t include my theories on that topic.  But I share this story as it is an excellent example of how we often like to comment on what something used to be, on the job someone used to have, on the name someone used to have, on what a place used to be, on the way we used to be.  “My office is where Lulu’s used to be.”  “Her name used to be….” “I used to care more about winning”.  (Insert your own used to example here).

Sometimes we hold onto those old things as a badge of honour, or as an important part of our identity, or as a way to stay connected to the past and to others.  Recently I was reminded that ““used to be” is not necessarily a mark of failure or even obsolescence. It’s more often a sign of bravery and progress.” I liked that thought. That the only way you get to “used to be” is as the result of change.  But before you spend too much time patting yourself on the back for the progress and change from all the “used to be’s” in your life; here is your next challenge: If you were brave enough to take the leap, who or what would you choose to ‘used to be’?  What should be the next “used to be” on your list?

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